Saturday 11 July 2020

More Brits give up passports to go Dutch as Brexit looms

In January alone, 80 British citizens in the Netherlands gave up their British nationality to become Dutch nationals, compared with just 19 in the whole of 2015, before the Brexit referendum, according to new figures from the immigration service IND.

In 2018, 200 British nationals agreed to reject their British nationality and become Dutch. A further 1,128 British people became dual nationals last year after becoming Dutch using the alternative option route, the Parool said at the weekend.

There are two ways for British nationals to become Dutch. One – naturalisatie – involves rejecting British nationality, a process which costs £372.

The other – optie – is open to people with a long-term Dutch partner, people who are over the age of 65 and people who were either born in the Netherlands or have lived here since they were very young. If you become Dutch via the optie ruling, you do not have to reject your original nationality.

Coalition party D66 is currently trying to amend the Dutch rules on dual nationality to take Dutch nationals in Britain and British nationals in the Netherlands into account. Dutch nationals living in Britain will also lose their Dutch nationality if they decide to become British.

The D66 plan has now been submitted to the Council of State, which advises on all legislative changes for its opinion.

Both British and Dutch expat groups have been lobbying MPs to support the bill. ‘I hope they will continue to do so, as their personal stories are of great value and might just convince parliamentarians to support our efforts,’ Sjoerdsma told


Research by this website last October showed that just 10% of British nationals had applied for Dutch nationality and that the rules on having two passports are a major stumbling block.

Asked why they had not done so, 41% said they did not want to give up their British passport. A further 14% said they were worried that becoming Dutch would affect their right to return to Britain for a longer period and 20% had not lived in the Netherlands long enough to qualify.

Some 86,000 people with British nationality currently live in the Netherlands, of whom 47,000 are first generation migrants, according to figures from the national statistics office CBS.

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